Kafta is a delicious Middle Eastern meatball, that’s beautifully flavored with spices and fresh parsley. So easy to make, you basically combine all the ingredients in a bowl, shape, and bake them! You can also grill the kebabs, but I like making these in the oven for a quick no fuss meal.
What’s so good about this kafta recipe:
I experimented with a bunch of different mixes until I got to this mix, which is my all time favorite.
I think the blend of beef and lamb is the best way to go. You get the flavor of the lamb with less of the fat, and the beef and lamb balance each other out nicely.
The kafta is juicy, and full of texure and flavor from the onion, garlic, and fresh parsley. There is the perfect mix of spices with enough to really pack enough flavor without overwhelming.
Best of all, it’s so easy! You just dump all the ingredients into a bowl, mix thoroughly to combine and that’s your mix ready!
It’s convenient because this recipe can be used to make kafta kebabs you grill, or oven baked fingers like the ones I made here. You could also use a stovetop grill pan and grill indoors.
This recipe is the ultimate in kid friendly. My kids love making simple sandwiches with pita bread and hummus, or just dunking the kofta fingers into ketchup with a side of fries.
There’s a lot you can do with the meat mix. You can form it into kebabs. You can spread it out into a pan to make sinneeyit kafta. This is a sort of Arabic meatloaf topped with tomato and potato slices).
You can make it into meatballs and cook it in a tomato pomegranate molasses stew- this is called Dawood Basha and it’s delicious! I have a recipe for that right here.
What do you need to make kafta:
The meat: My preference is a 50/50 mix of beef and lamb, but you can use all of one type of meat if preferred.
The herbs: Fresh chopped parsley imparts a lot of flavor in this, and is crucial to kafta’s flavor. Finely chop the parsley after washing so it mixes in well.
The spices: salt, pepper, seven spices (or all spice or mixed spices), cinnamon, cumin, a pinch of red chili flakes.
Onion and garlic: The key is pureeing or grating the onion so you don’t get big chunks of onion that will make it hard to form meatballs. I made this mistake once, and it was a messy process with lots of diced onions falling out. You can use the rough side of a cheese grater, or just process in a food processor.
How to make kafta:
It’s the easiest process ever! Once you have your parsley chopped and your onion grated, there’s nothing to it.
Simply mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl. I like using gloved hands so I can really work in the spices and herbs into the meat. Give it a good mix!
You can also pulse the onion in a food processor, as well as the parsley, then add the meat and all the other ingredients in and pulse. You have to be careful with this though and barely pulse once the meat is added so that you don’t overwork the meat and it ends up too dry.
Form the meat mixture into kebab shapes (little oblong cylinders). Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or pan.
I like to chill the kafta while heating the oven, because I think it helps the kafta holds its shape better, but this isn’t necessary. Once the oven is hot, the kafta needs to cook for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
I set the oven to broil after the kafta was cooked and briefly broiled the kafta fingers until dark golden brown spots formed to give it a little of that grill like flavor. Delicious!
Alternately, you can actually grill the kafta on skewers on an outdoor grill, or indoors in a grill pan. I find the oven method to be so low fuss, but do whatever your preference is, this is just a great base recipe.
What to serve kafta with:
I love having kafta sandwiches. What I do is stick a couple halved tomatoes and halved onions on the baking sheet with the kafta before it goes in the oven so that they cook through and char a little when I broil the dish. Then, I make sandwiches with hummus, kafta, and a little grilled onion and tomato, and gherkins.
My kids love having kafta plain with french fries and ketchup on the side.
You can keep this low carb and have it with a side salad.
You can also do kafta rice bowls, serve it alongside vermicelli rice with a dollop of hummus and some diced tomatoes and vegetables.
Alternately, you can use the kafta mixture to make meatballs like in this Dawood Basha, or to make kafta bilsinniyeh.
How long can kafta be stored:
Cooked kafta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Cooked kafta also freezes well for up to 3 months.
- 1/2 lb ground beef 250 g
- 1/2 lb ground lamb 250 g
- 1/2 onion, grated or pulsed in a food processor
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- small handful of parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp seven spice or all spice powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- pinch red chili flakes
- Add all the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well until combined. You can use gloved hands or a spoon to mix. I prefer using hands!
- Form the meat mixture into oblong kebab shapes like pictured. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, and chill in fridge until the oven heats.
- Heat the oven to 350 F (180C). Bake the kafta for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Optional, heat the oven to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes to get golden brown crispy edges on the kafta.
Kafta Kebabs by everylittlecrumb on Jumprope.
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